Guy Wesley Reffitt, a Texan, was sentenced to more than seven years in prison Monday for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. It’s the longest prison term handed down yet as the Justice Department continues the process of moving forward with the cases of hundreds of people arrested for their roles in the breaching of the U.S. Capitol building on the day that Congress was set to certify the 2020 presidential election.
Reffitt, a member of the Texas movement of the right-wing military group Three Percenters, was the first person to go on trial in the broader criminal inquiry by the U.S. Justice Department. As the judge in the case noted during sentencing, there were some factors in Reffitt’s case that made it unusual, including the fact that he never actually entered the Capitol and that he had threatened his own children not to talk to authorities.
Zach Montague, a reporter for the New York Times based in Washington, D.C., said Reffitt’s case specifically garnered interest for his role in bringing people to the riot “and then sort of leading the charge toward the front of the pack up to the building, after which obviously, you know, hundreds of people followed and went in.”
Despite Reffitt not breaching the Capitol or harming police officers while he participated in the insurrection, he’s received the longest sentence out of the hundreds of people indicted in this criminal inquiry. Montague said that what led to the longer sentence was a gun charge for having carried a pistol during the riot.
“And then in the aftermath of the riot, there was also this sort of back-and-forth with his children where his son had started to become concerned that he had seemed to be radicalized in the aftermath of the election,” Montague said. “And when the authorities, the FBI specifically, began poking around in his circle, [Reffitt] sort of became privy to this investigation that was unfolding and, you know, told both of his children very explicitly not to speak to the authorities, which brought another obstruction of justice charge.”